Mumias Sugar workers accuse Sarrai of transferring vital machinery from factory
Workers and farmers at the Mumias Sugar Factory are accusing Ugandan investor Sarrai Group of secretly transferring vital machinery out of the factory.
This comes a month after President William Ruto announced plans to bring in a new investor to take over operations at the troubled state miller.
Speaking during a press briefing in Mumias town, the Mumias Sugar Factory Workers Union said equipment such as Form Fill and Seal Machines for packaging sugar, pump motors, and gear boxes have been witnessed being removed from the factory, mainly at night.
Union chairman Patrick Mutimba is calling for Sarrai Group to be barred from relocating the essential machinery to neighboring Uganda.
“They have been taking the equipment away. Now it means that even if another investor arrives, he will find that everything has been damaged,” said Mutimba.
He also alleged that the investor is replacing the equipment with subpar and outdated pieces, with the intention of scaring off potential new investors.
Union members, who were evicted from the company’s premises last month, also claim that the factory management under Sarrai has downscaled crushing of cane to only twice or thrice a month, indicating that a number of heavy machinery, including processing equipment, are being shipped out of the Mumias Sugar factory.
Workers and farmers are blaming local politicians, led by former Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, for secretly meeting with Sarrai management, instead of addressing the alleged vandalism being committed by Indians hired by Sarrai.
“The Azimio leaders are meeting Sarrai secretly instead of defending the interests of the workers,” said Vitalis Makhoha, Secretary of the Mumias Workers Union.
The workers and farmers are now calling on President William Ruto to expedite his reforms agenda for the factory, including bringing in a new investor.
The Union members are also urging residents of Mumias to be more vigilant and ensure that their local industry is not completely vandalized by Sarrai Group.